New Mexico GOP Wants Gun Measure On Ballot

AP Photo/Yakima Herald-Republic, TJ Mullinax, File

New Mexican lawmakers seem to overwhelmingly want universal background checks in their state.

However, the fact that so many county sheriffs have vowed not to enforce the law has to weigh on some of their minds. After all, what good is a law that isn’t enforced? While state and city police can still enforce such regulations, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to do very much to stem any sales being conducted without state approval.


While that’s likely to be an issue, it’s also an opportunity. At least, that’s what Republican lawmakers in the state seem to think.

New Mexico House Republicans want to put universal background for gun purchases to a vote, despite Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature.

They proposed a petition drive to overturn a law expanding mandatory background checks on firearms sales in New Mexico as a “constitutional issue.”

“This issue is about rights of the American citizen,” said House Republican Minority Leader Rep. James Townsend (R-54).

Townsend sent a letter to Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver requesting petitions for Senate Bill 8, signed March 8 by Lujan Grisham.

“There has been an overwhelming outcry from the areas that I represent was as well as 30 of the 33 sheriff’s (in New Mexico) and about 25 county commissions. It’s been public outcry across the state that they don’t believe is fair or will do any good,” Townsend said.

Rep. Rebecca Dow (R-38) represents Sierra, Grant and Luna counties in western and southern New Mexico.

Traditionally, Grant and Luna lean Democratic, but Dow said firearms rights know no political boundary.

“I don’t think there’s a mixed opinion on protecting Second Amendment rights,” Dow said.

It’s actually pretty smart.

A huge chunk of county sheriffs is saying they won’t enforce the law. They’re all elected at the local level, which means there has to be at least something of a broad base of support for that kind of thinking.

By pushing to put it on the ballot, the thinking seems to be to let the voters themselves show they don’t want universal background checks. At worst, nothing changes as the bill has passed and has been signed into law by the governor. There’s nothing to lose by trying.


Yet if they’re successful, they can overturn a ridiculous law that will have no effect on crime, mass shootings, or much of anything else illegal but will create more opportunities for law-abiding citizens to become felons without meaning to.

Frankly, I think it’s pretty brilliant.

However, the secretary of state would have to approve the measure first. If she doesn’t, Townsend said his side is ready to take this to court immediately. If approved, he said they’d begin work campaigning on the issue immediately.

I don’t know if it’ll work or not. I can’t say one way or another.

What I can say, is that I wish them the very best of luck and I urge anyone who can to keep an eye on this effort and, if it makes to the ballot, donate to help them fight this silliness masquerading as legislation and, in the process, send a signal to the rest of the country.

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